Chime Communications has launched a dedicated investor relations practice for the first time. The company bought IR Focus, an agency founded by City veterans Chris Birks and Neville Harris last week.
IR Focus has taken space in the offices of Bell Pottinger Financial, Chime's existing financial PR offering.
The founders of IR Focus will report to Kevin Murray, newly appointed CEO of Bell Pottinger Communications (PR Week, 20 October).
They hope to share clients with other Bell Pottinger companies, but have also signed up their own. These include media firm Chrysalis, casino operator London Clubs and web hoster Affinity Internet. All these companies have market capitalisations of between pounds 200 million and pounds 300 million.
The founders' prior experience combines financial services with IR. Birks, who was until recently corporate communications head for engineering firm Delta, was a director of IR agency Frew Macmaster from 1995 until 1997.
He has also spent nine years as a director of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.
Harris has spent 20 years as a fund manager - the people to whom IR Focus aims to communicate. His career has consisted of 14 years with Sun Life and the last six years at Hill Samuel Asset Management.
'IR as a specialist discipline is best done by those with City experience. It amounted to a gap that needed to be filled within Chime,' Birks said.
- Good Relations has won the PR account for the Government's UK Online, after a three-way pitch against GCI and Manning Selvage and Lee.
Director Will Sanderson leads the account, working to cabinet office e-communications director Lucian Hudson. The agency will work with cabinet office minister of state Ian McCartney at 'making the information poor the information rich'.